Patent filing rise reveals role of innovation in driving Scottish economy

Paul Chapman

Intellectual property (IP) practice Marks & Clerk has highlighted the crucial role of IP in powering the Scottish economy as new statistics show patent filing has risen nearly 10 per cent.

The European Patent Office’s (EPO) annual report, published this week covering patents filed and granted in 2017, reveals that 271 patents were filed from Scotland – an increase of 9.7 per cent on the previous year.

Patent filing in Scotland also outperformed the UK as a whole, which saw a 2.4 per cent increase in filing.

UK companies and entrepreneurs file at the EPO to protect inventions and innovations in all 38 of the EPO’s member states.

Growth in patent filing across the UK was driven by key sectors including medical technology (up 7.1 per cent), biotechnology (up 25.3 per cent), pharmaceuticals (up 15.7 per cent) and civil engineering (up 20.2 per cent).

Paul Chapman, a Partner in Marks & Clerk’s Edinburgh office, said: “Scotland continues to lead the way in industries as diverse as food and drink, pharmaceuticals and energy and this is reflected in the fact that filings from Scotland have grown nearly 10 per cent year on year.

“Between 2015 and 2016 patent filings remained steady demonstrating resilience amid economic uncertainty – and this year’s rise is figures is even more encouraging, showing there is a now a fresh wave of confidence.

“The dynamism of the Scottish economy is reflected in these latest statistics from the EPO which shows Scotland to be an innovation hotspot.

“By filing with the EPO, businesses from the region are protecting their IP both at home, and in key overseas markets, ensuring Scottish innovation is successful globally.”


Leading UK regions for EPO applications  Patents Filed                       Change

Greater London                                                           1716                            +10.6%

East of England                                                          623                              +3.1%

North West England                                                    571                              +2%

South East England                                                    503                              -12.4%

West Midlands                                                478                              +6.5%

South West England                                                   469                              - 3.1%

Scotland                                                                      271                              +9.7%

Wales                                                                          218                              +7.4%

Yorkshire & the Humber                                             185                              -10.6%

East Midlands                                                             95                                +1.1%

North East England                                                     66                                +15.8%

Northern Ireland                                                          63                                -4.5%